June 28, 2013
Dean David Chard (left) with Annette and Harold Simmons, whose new gift of $25 million will support a new building and academic positions.

Dean David Chard (left) with Annette and Harold Simmons, whose new gift of $25 million will support a new building and academic positions.

Harold C. and Annette Caldwell Simmons have committed a gift of $25 million to SMU’s School of Education and Human Development named in her honor. Their gift will fund a new building for the expanding programs of the school and support three new endowed academic positions. The new facility will be named Harold Clark Simmons Hall, at Mrs. Simmons’ request.

In 2007 the Simmons made a historic $20 million gift to SMU, which established endowments for the school and provided funding for a new building, Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall. The gift created an endowed graduate fellowship fund and an endowed deanship and faculty recruitment fund, both of which honored Mr. Simmons’ parents, who were educators in Golden, Texas.

Their combined gifts of $45 million to the school make Harold and Annette Simmons’ commitment among the largest to SMU’s Second Century Campaign, also making them among the most generous donors in the University’s 100-year history. Previous gifts include the endowment of four President’s Scholars and the creation of the Simmons Distinguished Professorship in Marketing in the Cox School of Business.

“Since its creation less than a decade ago, the Simmons School has made significant and rapid contributions addressing the challenges facing schools and educators,” says President R. Gerald Turner. “Harold and Annette Simmons have established an enduring legacy of service and generosity benefitting SMU and have shown great foresight by supporting education.”

The Second Century Campaign coincides with celebration of the 100th anniversary of the University’s founding in 1911 and its opening in 1915. Counting the Simmons’ new gift, the campaign has raised $732.5 million toward a goal of $750 million to support student quality, faculty and academic excellence and the campus experience.

Harold Simmons says, “We have been pleased to see the rapid progress the school has made in developing programs aimed at addressing the greatest challenges in our nation’s schools. Our investment has resulted in the formation of innovative programs for education and human development, the hiring of outstanding faculty leading research that makes a difference, and growing outreach to communities with solutions that work. This progress is worthy of continued investment, which we are pleased to lead.”

In the past six years, the school has expanded from one department and several programs to five departments – Teaching and Learning, Education Policy and Leadership, CounselingDispute Resolution, Applied Physiology and Wellness, and Master of Liberal Studies program – offering eight graduate degree programs and one undergraduate degree program. The school has grown from 13 to 62 faculty members and from 42 to 112 staff members. Research funding has increased to $18 million since 2007. In addition, the school hosts research conferences and provides continuing education to teachers throughout North Texas.

The school also has developed community outreach programs that complement degree programs. These include the Center on Communities and Education that includes The School Zone in West Dallas, an initiative among SMU, not-for-profit agencies, Dallas Independent School District and businesses to improve school performance, raise graduation rates, and increase college readiness in the economically distressed area.

Others include the Center on Research and Evaluation, the Institute for Evidence-based Education, Research in Mathematics Education and college access programs. In addition, the Simmons School has appointed a faculty member in global health who is a concurrent fellow at the George W. Bush Institute. The school also partners with the Bush Institute on two education initiatives – Middle School Matters and The Alliance to Reform Education Leadership.

“This extraordinary gift enables our school to leave a more durable imprint as we increase its capacity for making an impact,” says David Chard, Leon Simmons dean of Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. “The new building and endowed faculty positions will enable us to expand dramatically the scope and quality of our teaching, research and service.”